EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove has been in Dorset touring two schools to see where government money is being spent.

The secretary of state visited The Swanage School, just months after pupils started classes in their new building for the first time. He was warmly received on the Swanage campus, and told the Daily Echo he was delighted to see the school “at the heart of the community with fantastic facilities.”

Mr Gove, who championed the concept of free schools, added: “I am very encouraged. Free schools are meant to give parents choice and parents in Swanage now have the choice of a local community school and I think that's a great thing.”

South Dorset MP Richard Drax and Dorset County Councillor Bill Trite met Mr Gove, alongside school staff and members of the school's governing body yesterday morning.

Swanage School head teacher Tristram Hobson said: “Mr Gove loved our school and thought what we are doing here was really impressive. We were proud to show off what makes our school particularly distinctive.”

Mr Gove then visited Montacute School in Canford Heath, along with Mid Dorset and North Poole Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Michael Tomlinson, to see children and staff at work, and assess progress on a much-needed multi-million pound rebuild of the school.

Mr Gove praised the caring dedication of staff to pupils at the special school, many of whom have multiple complex needs, calling it “such a happy place.”

He also promised to look into the £500,000 funding gap, which the school is fundraising to fill, to cover the cost of furnishing the new building internally.